24 April 2019


Residents were invited to have their say on health innovations and programmes in Lancashire and South Cumbria at the launch of a new patient and public engagement Senate.

The Innovation Agency, Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, puts patients and public at the heart of its work in spreading health innovations and technology throughout the region.

It already has a successful Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Senate (PIES) in Cheshire and Merseyside which meets bi-monthly to discuss healthcare products and services.

The group has been involved in a number of pioneering projects from helping to develop a smartphone app wizard to record preferences for sharing healthcare data and creating ideas for new innovations at an Amazon hackathon to testing and providing feedback on new health apps and devices.

Now a second PIES group has been formed to help shape healthcare in Lancashire and South Cumbria. The group met for the first time at Preston Business Centre where Associate Director Mandy Townsend spoke about the work of the Innovation Agency’s Patient Safety Collaborative including the maternity neonatal programme.

Carole and Jim Organ from Preston attended the Lancashire and South Cumbria PIES meeting.

Jim said: “With the advances of technologies that can improve wellbeing, I feel that by being involved at an early stage, I can help to keep the patients’ requirements at the centre of the development.”

Meanwhile, his wife Carole joined because she has an interest in health research. She commented: “Patients are the most important people in the NHS system and they should have their say in their future treatment.”

During the meeting, members were offered the opportunity to train in Quality Improvement methods which help to raise standards of care.

Steve Adams, Commercial Programme Manager for Lancashire, explained how he is working with local businesses to support the adoption and spread of their health innovations into the NHS.

And local SMEs gave presentations on their health devices including James Batchelor from Alertacall who has developed a range of technology to improve contact with older relatives.

Patient & Public Involvement Lead Debbie Parkinson said: “Patient and public representatives bring their unique perspective to our projects, and while each has different experiences, all are united in their desire to help improve healthcare across the North West Coast. 

“The Senates enable us to involve people from all walks of life in the development of innovations including co-production, testing and take part in expert groups which will benefit our population.”

The Innovation Agency is recruiting more members for the new PIES group, so if you’re interested in health innovation and want to make a difference, get in touch.

Jim added: “Even if you do not have a medical background, like me, don’t be put off from joining.

“The people are friendly and everyone’s contribution is valued. By being part of the group, you will be helping to evaluate projects and innovations that can make a difference to people’s well-being both today and for future generations. The NHS needs you!”

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, 9 May at Preston Business Centre, Watling Street Road, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8DY.

If you’d like to get involved contact Debbie Parkinson on 07932 769144 or email

You can also follow her on Twitter @talktodebbie

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